Friday, 11 September 2009

Last of the summer rides?

The week has been beautiful, today still entirely warm enough for one-layer cycling. From the time I left home after 9am to the time I got back just after 7pm, the air temperature was over +20C (Daytime high, by the way, +25C). For mid-September, this is wonderful. And having experienced the unpleasantness of being stuck in a crowded bus in a traffic jam from Jeziorki all the way to Wilanowska yesterday morning, being able to ride briskly past endless queues of near-stationary traffic is extremely liberating.

The days are rapidly getting shorter at this time of year. We're going to lose a whole hour of daylight in the next 11 days! Today was 13 hours long. Equinox this year is on 22nd September; day and night are both 12 hours long. I don't fancy riding home in the dark (even with lights); the journey takes around an hour, with sunset at 18:30 as it will soon be, I must leave the office soon after five - difficult to do in practice.

Riding through Ursynów is pleasant on evenings like this. The cycle path that runs all the way from Ursynów metro station in the north to the Las Kabacki forest in the south. It is well planned and safe, and (although the pics don't show it) still quite well frequented by local cyclists. Al. KEN itself is filling up with new developments of flats; as such population density is rising. I hope this will stop soon, as the area, which is now quite civilised, may lose much of its charm if a new block is shoved into every available patch of spare land.

With such good cycling infrastructure and the Park+Ride at Stokłosy metro station, I find it puzzling why so many Ursynauers still chose to drive to work. "Because they can" is the correct answer. Since Warsaw's city authorities have installed parking meters around Powiśle where I work two and half months ago, I've driven to the office but twice, in both cases because I was bringing something in or taking something home. Discussing this with colleagues at the office, I see that the meters do work at discouraging car commuting. Dorota, Ewa and Mariola, also former car users, have all bought quarterly city transport cards (196zł for 90 days) This works out at just over £41 or £13 a month (a four-zone TfL monthly Travelcard, covering roughly the same radius of London as Warsaw's strefa miejska, costs £141.40. More than ten times more.)

Will the weather be clement enough next week for some more rides to work? Although it's a long hack (35km round trip), the health benefits of cycling in two or three times a week are huge. Nearly two hours a day of useful exercise. I shall miss cycling to work when bright, summery one-layer days finally give way to autumnal gloom.

Above: We've had the Galeria Mokotów joke in the previous post. Here is the Galeria Ursynów. So if it's ursyny or indeed mokoty that you want, you now know where you can get them.

This time last year:
Late summer sun
Looking for a better way of commuting

This time two years ago:
Here come the planes
Roadworks and detours, ul. Puławska
Objets trouves on the line
Zgorzała contrasts
Take the coal train
ul. Kórnicka gets paved

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